A look at the Bears depth chart following draft weekend

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
 
 
Updated 5/4/2022 6:41 PM

The Bears and general manager Ryan Poles added 11 players to their roster in last weekend's NFL draft, plus they signed more than a dozen undrafted free agents.

The newcomers will begin rookie minicamp Friday and veterans return for organized team activities May 16.

 

Below is a working depth chart. There remain well-known free agents available, and more veterans will hit the street through September.

Undrafted rookies mentioned below haven't officially signed, but are expected to.

Quarterback

Starter: Justin Fields

Backups: Trevor Siemian, Ryan Willis

Status: As is.

Running back

Starter: David Montgomery, Khari Blasingame (fullback)

Backups: Khalil Herbert, Darrynton Evans, Trestan Ebner

Status: Montgomery is featured. Herbert should be heavily involved. Ebner adds an experienced pass catcher. Poles should feel good with the depth here.

Wide receiver

Starters: Darnell Mooney, Byron Pringle, Velus Jones Jr.

Backups/in the rotation: Equanimeous St. Brown, Dazz Newsome

Depth: Isaiah Coulter, David Moore, Nsimba Webster

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Status: Mooney is the clear top dog and the Bears hope Pringle can be No. 2. St. Brown needs to show more than he did last season in Green Bay. There's a lot to like about his 6-foot-5 frame. ... The rookie Jones could wind up No. 3, but St. Brown should be in the mix too. The Bears envision Jones as something of a Swiss Army knife. This is a big year for Newsome, a 2021 sixth-round pick who spent much of last year on the practice squad.

Tight end

Starter: Cole Kmet

Backups: Ryan Griffin, James O'Shaughnessy, Jesper Horsted

Status: Kmet will see the majority of the snaps. Griffin and O'Shaughnessy are probably interchangeable. Keep an eye on undrafted rookie Chase Allen of Iowa State. He could challenge for a roster spot. He was second-team All-Big 12 in four of his five college seasons.

Offensive line

Starters: Larry Borom (LT), Cody Whitehair (LG), Lucas Patrick (C), Dakota Dozier (RG), Teven Jenkins (RT)

Backups: Julien Davenport (LT), Willie Wright (LG), Sam Mustipher (C/RG) Lachavious Simmons (RT)

Depth: Tyrone Wheatley (OT), Zachary Thomas (OT/OG), Doug Kramer (C), Ja'Tyre Carter (OG), Braxton Jones (OT), Dieter Eiselen (C)

Status: All could change. This is heavily based on what the offensive line looked like at voluntary minicamp before the draft. Dozier and Mustipher split time at right guard. Mustipher is probably the first guy off the bench at both center and right guard.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The bigger question is how do the rookies fit in? The Bears want to get lighter and quicker on the O-line. Jones could potentially supplant Simmons as a backup tackle. Thomas can play guard or tackle, but probably has a better chance of moving up the depth chart at guard. Kramer and Carter have some work cut out for them and might be destined for the practice squad.

Defensive line

Starter: Robert Quinn (DE), Khyiris Tonga (DT), Justin Jones (DT), Al-Quadin Muhammad (DE)

Backups: Trevis Gipson (DE), Angelo Blackson (DT), Mario Edwards Jr. (DT/DE), Jeremiah Attaochu (DE)

Depth: Dominique Robinson (DE), Sam Kamara (DE), LaCale London (DT), Auzoyah Alufohai (DT), Charles Snowden (DE), Ledarius Mack (DE)

Status: There are a lot of names and not enough snaps to go around. Look for Gipson to see significant snaps as a pass rusher. Blackson and Edwards should be contributors. Robinson is an intriguing prospect, but might need a year to develop. It's unclear how Attaochu fits Matt Eberflus' system.

Linebacker

Starters: Roquan Smith, Nicholas Morrow, Matt Adams

Backups: Caleb Johnson, Noah Dawkins, Joe Thomas

Status: The third starting spot is likely up for grabs. Adams gets the nod here because of his experience in Eberflus' system in Indianapolis. Johnson saw a lot of action on special teams last year and could challenge Adams for a spot on defense.

Undrafted Jack Sanborn from Wisconsin (via Lake Zurich) is worth keeping an eye on. He was one of the top-rated players to go undrafted.

Cornerback

Starters: Jaylon Johnson, Kyler Gordon, Tavon Young (nickel)

Backups: Thomas Graham Jr., Kindle Vildor, Duke Shelley (nickel)

Depth: BoPete Keyes, Lamar Jackson, Greg Stroman Jr., Michael Joseph

Status: If Gordon lives up to his second-round hype, he should be a starter opposite Johnson. Those two should be a great, young one-two punch.

Young is a nickel specialist who typically will line up across from the receiver in the slot. Graham and Vildor are likely relegated to backup, and are solid. Gordon makes the Bears better.

Safety

Starters: Eddie Jackson, Jaquan Brisker

Backups: DeAndre Houston-Carson, Dane Cruikshank

Depth: Elijah Hicks, Michael Joseph

Status: The hope is Brisker can lock down the starting strong safety spot. He and Cruikshank figure to battle for that position in training camp. Houston-Carson is a solid backup and a great special teams piece, but drafting a ballhawk like Brisker likely improved this defense.

Special teams

Kicker: Cairo Santos

Punter: Ryan Winslow or Trenton Gill

Long snapper: Patrick Scales

Kick return: Khalil Herbert or Velus Jones Jr. or Trestan Ebner

Punt return: Nsimba Webster or Dazz Newsome or Trestan Ebner

Status: The Bears drafted Gill with a seventh-round pick. They wouldn't do that if they didn't believe he could be their starter. Winslow signed when longtime punter Pat O'Donnell left, but he has punted in only six NFL games. Get ready for a punter competition in camp.

The additions of Jones and Ebner give the Bears three good options on kick return. With Herbert taking over backup running back duties, the Bears might not want him on kick return regularly.

Newsome returned only six punts last season, but he and Ebner did it often in college. Undrafted wide receiver Savon Scarver from Utah State is a return specialist.

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Get articles sent to your inbox.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.